Doc Sheridan’s Gift

He walked into the white-tiled room

wearing clean green scrubs and a hood

It must have been an Easter-bonnet reject

with flowers long-since gone, only one thing left

the pale green gauze and a chin strap

wide as a flap of beard

Anyway, it made me smile

He smiled back

I was gonna tease him about his funny looks

till a nurse handed me a bag and said

Go take off your clothes; put these on instead

I pulled out one of them flap-backed gowns

made to fit a 700-pound body

and me, being just a fraction of 700,

did what I was told

but there wasn’t no tie to hold

the back-flap together and hide my knickers

Then inside the bag I found a hag’s bonnet

only this one was white – not my best color

it framed my mug like a prison shower cap

the size 700 elastic slipping down my face

not a trace of brow left and hardly any eyes

Stripped of my clothes and vanity

I re-entered the room, humbled

on equal terms with the bonneted Doc

He’s an artist I decided as he described

the seventeen bones in my foot

compared to only three in my ankle

He knows every one of those structures

like the back of his hand or his own child’s smile

Put your feet up here, he directed

and took a pen from his pocket

then outlined an arrow that pointed to the spot

where the screw had stopped working

and was no longer needed to hold my foot together


he drew a happy face on my big toe

made me giggle like a little girl

Ooh that tickles, Doc

How good it was to laugh with my artist surgeon

easing the pre-op tension

Then Robert came in – Him, the nurse

with the warm blanket and eyes,

wrapped a strap around my arm

and pumped till the numbers jumped

Are you nervous? Your blood pressure’s up

Don’t worry, he said. This is just like

going to the dentist

My blood pressure rose again

That’s when Doc took a full syringe,

aimed it at my screwed foot, and squirted

saying This is gonna be a bit cold

But it was more than death’s door of cold

It burned like hell

It will kill the pain, he promised

If burning like hell was better than that pain

then that pain was gonna hurt real bad

so I was glad I didn’t have to face it

Soon after my foot went numb

Doc said Let’s get started

I walked to the operating room

holding on to my floppy cap thinking

To hell with the exposed back-flap

I’ll be sitting on it soon

I climbed on the table and met John

the vet tech for people

He covered me up and hung a sheet

so I couldn’t peek and pass out in a swoon

I lay back down and talked a streak

looking into Robert’s brown eyes

trying not to worry that I could feel a lot

more than my heel, I felt my whole foot

in Doc’s hand and I felt pressure

The only real pain was in my brain

and in the bone where the screw was stuck

They put a tourniquet down around my calf,

and I laughed thinking my foot might fall off

and solve the whole problem if they forget

but they didn’t

A few stories later – you know, the ones I told

to keep us all entertained while they worked

though I doubt they listened, knowing

it was just a ploy to keep me busy

playing with a stream of words

Well, a few stories later,

using the scalpel, pliers, and the wrong screwdriver

they tried to unscrew that old pin

but the bugger was stuck in there

We need a Number 62, said Doc

It’s in my office

I hoped his office was close by

and I told another story while they tried

to find the right driver. I don’t remember now

if the story was done when someone said

Screw’s out!

Robert showed me the titanium imp

that made me limp every time I donned a shoe

for the last few years

I felt like shedding tears of gratitude

but I just said Well Done and Thanks

They bandaged me up and sent me home

with one black sandal and two white pages

of post-op instructions saying

Stay dry

Don’t try running or playing golf  – yet

Keep your foot up and take a rest

You were blessed with a good screw

Now it’s done and gone so hop along

and we’ll take the stitches out next week

When Rich came home and saw the new shoe

and the bandaged foot, with toes exposed

and the happy-face still grinning, he asked

What’s up?

My foot, I said

I have to keep it inclined

Would you mind walking the dog?

So he did, much to her concern

cuz he still hasn’t learned

to scoop her poops without gagging

It’s not the dog’s fault they stink

Then Rich went to get us a take-out supper

since I shouldn’t stand but when he left I stood

I wanted to cook the dog’s dinner

sweet potatoes, brown rice and chicken

Tomorrow while he’s out playing golf

she’ll be here with me

licking the happy-face

tickling my toes

and making me giggle like a little girl again

google images

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Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized

18 responses to “Doc Sheridan’s Gift

  1. My goodness, I can so relate to this. In Jan 2007, I stepped out of the car on pure ice thought ‘It’s okay, it’s just one step from the car to the bank of snow, it’ll be ok.’ how wrong I was. One step was all it took for one leg to slip completely under the other and bring my whole weight down on myself. Convinced I’d only badly sprained it, and we also had a downstairs half-bathroom I was in agony but, didn’t even go to the hospital until the next night after I’d called a paramedic friend and told her I had a red rash going up my leg and she told me I may have broken something. Sure enough, I’d broken both tib & fib right across the ankle. Had to have an op and permanent metal plate & screws put in and, it bothers me too! So, I can so relate to all of this.
    Thank you for the lovely comment and sharing with me the story of what you and your husband went through with your daughter. Thank goodness your story has a happy ending for you all. Our prayers do get answered, sometimes maybe not the answers we are hoping for but, they are all heard.
    I haven’t heard of the author but, will look him up now. Thank you, once again.

  2. I enjoyed reading this very much…thank you for sharing…
    it made me smile and remember the days as a nurse,
    being part of the other side of your adventure in the operating
    room. Peace. Siggi in Downeast Maine

    • Siggi, I bet you made a wonderful nurse. Glad the poem brought back those funny memories for you. Patients certainly do provide lots of laugh-opportunities for medical people. I know, my sister is a nurse and she laughs all the time. It makes her heart bigger.

  3. wow.
    glad to see you at sunday scribbling,
    come to poetry potluck today.
    I might have missed reading you, will read tonight.

  4. Grace Walker

    Great story. You’d think they could have given you a bit more cover to wear when they were only working on your foot! Oh the joys of the medical establishment! And thanks be that they are there to make our next steps more enjoyable and livable.

    • Thanks Grace; You made me laugh. That’s the one thing that scares me most about hospitals. The first thing they say to you when you arrive, is take your clothes off. I’m just so grateful when I get mine back and can leave again. 🙂

  5. agh surgeries…i had two but both with a general anaesthesia…and i was thankful not having to listen to their discussions..shivers… think i would take my headphones and listen to some music…i’m such a coward….love the happy-face he painted…good doctor..

  6. Yes, a well described story – and after all that, are you playing golf again?

    • I’ve got my tee-time booked already for next weekend!! Thanks, scandic. I tried to visit your site, but the link was incomplete. I’d love to read your work, so feel free to send me a link and I’ll pop in.

  7. keep up the excellence.
    short story slam welcomes your entry as well.

  8. Thank you so much for your beautiful poetry! I nominated your blog for a Liebster Award:!

  9. This was…I don’t even know how to describe how you do it…you string me along….it’s as if the poem is a kite and I go wherever you want it to take me and then when it lands gently, I feel so happy. It’s beautiful.

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